European Parliament Reprimands Pole for Anti-Semitism (Update1)

By Jonathan Stearns

March 14 (Bloomberg) — The European Parliament reprimanded a Polish member for making anti-Semitic comments in a paper bearing the assembly’s logo, the first-ever such sanction.

The 27-nation European Union legislature rebuked Maciej Giertych for writing that Jews “form the ghettos themselves” and “it was only Hitler’s Germany that created the concept of forced separation.” The 33-page paper, published in February, is titled “Civilisations at war in Europe.”

Giertych’s tract is “a serious breach of fundamental rights,” Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering, a German Christian Democrat, told the 785-seat assembly today in Strasbourg, France. “Tolerance and respect for others are important European values.”

The reprimand highlights tensions in the Parliament following the EU’s expansion to 10 mainly ex-communist, eastern European countries including Poland in 2004 and to Bulgaria and Romania this year. The assembly’s membership is splintering and becoming more hostile to the EU.

The Europe of Nations group has displaced the pro-EU Greens as the Parliament’s fourth-largest faction because of a shift in alliances and the assembly has added a more extreme nationalist group — Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty — that includes members from Romania and Bulgaria.